Today: Will Our Representatives Speak Out Against $15 Minimum Wage?

Sometimes, tradition must be subverted to speak the truth. As Vermont’s House of Representatives begins discussion on S40, perhaps we will see an example of just that. S40 would increase the minimum to $15/hour by 2024, and is forecasted to lead to thousands of fewer jobs in Vermont in the next decade. Several representatives are aware of these figures, which is why they have vowed not to remain silent.

Two weeks ago on on April 24, the ‘House Committee on General, Housing, & Military Affairs,’ voted 7-4 to pass Senate Bill S40. Committee’s Chair Helen Head (D-Chittenden) requested that all members of the committee heed the committee’s “tradition of supporting their committee” by declining to speak against committee approved measures on the House Floor.

In defiance of Rep. Head, several representatives vowed to speak out against the minimum wage on the floor of the House. One of those representatives was Edward Read (I-Washington) who declared, “with all due respect, I’m here for my constituents, not for anybody’s party.” After an awkward silence, Representative Head responded, “well, I trust that we can work together based on mutual respect. Based on that we’ve done some great work this year. I think we have the possibility of doing more.”

I will be curious to see which of the four representatives who voted against S40 in committee will speak out on the floor today against the committee’s wishes. I would bet on Rep. Edward Read speaking on the floor. We shall see if Rep. Heidi E. Scheuermann (R-Stowe), Rep. Brian Smith (R/D-Derby), and Rep. Vicki Strong (R-Albany) decide to speak out. It’s one thing to cast a vote against the minimum wage in a committee, while it is quite another to speak out on the floor against the wishes of the head of your committee

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert May 8, 2018 at 7:04 pm

I guess courage will need to come out of committee.


Lynn Smith May 8, 2018 at 9:24 pm

As a resident of Essex (the town) and knowing our representative will vote for such lunacy, I must speak up.

This bill will put small businesses out of business. Please address the COST of living in VT rather than just mandating wage hikes. As the minimum wage rises, so will the cost of living. To be able to pay the increased wages, businesses must charge more for their goods and services. Get to the ROOT of the problem rather than touting a higher minimum wage. I stand AGAINST this bill!!!!!


Carol May 11, 2018 at 9:24 pm

Merchants in VT are forced to price their goods higher due to the high taxes they pay, so people in VT are willing to make that high mileage roundtrip to NH stores and gas stations to save money. On many occasions I’ve seen a number of VT Senate & Rep plates in the parking lots of NH malls and you know they’re not there because they want to support the NH economy. Doesn’t it dawn on these senators and reps that if they keep passing legislation to increase the cost of goods to Vermonters, who would really rather shop in state, there are not going to be many businesses surviving their misguided decisions and they will be losing out on revenue and people will start moving out of state in pursuit of an affordable place to live. Then who is left to support Vermont’s overburdened welfare & healthcare systems? Robbing Peter to pay Paul only works until Paul smartens up or runs out of money.


Deanne May 12, 2018 at 2:35 pm


Those cars, plates, locations, etc. should be photographed and documented. That would be an interesting issue to pursue, with photographic evidence, times, dates, etc. If these people are voting for tax increases in Vermont, why are they crossing the river to make their own purchases…? Please start documenting what you see. It may come in useful in the future.


Ted May 11, 2018 at 11:26 pm

Very interesting, Carol. I will be looking for those plates myself and if I should see them at their cars I’m going to ask , “Will YOU be paying your sales and use tax?”


Tom May 12, 2018 at 9:57 am

ithink by the time 2024 comes around and the mim wage goes to $15 the new livable wag will be $21 dollars. we will be in the same boat but with even more people in it. the middle class is goin to shrink.
Plus what about people on SS they wont get pay raises to beable to pay for the good they need. the people on SS will be the poor wons and these are the people that have worked all there lives and paid taxes just to be poor


William Hays May 12, 2018 at 6:47 pm

Tom: did you study English in Vermont? Hooray, for the Vermont Teacher’s Unions!


Ed May 12, 2018 at 11:59 am

The above comments should convince all but the most die-hard liberals to not support this legislation. All fiscally responsive Vermonters have to speak up if we are going to continue to be able to afford to live in this state, OR, anywhere that thinks constantly increasing taxes is the savior of of our society.


Deanne May 12, 2018 at 2:28 pm

A vote for a minimum wage is a vote for legislated inflation (which would be in addition to new currency injection inflation, which is continually happening). People who don’t understand that employers who are required to pay their employees more, must also charge more for their products or services to be able to do so, appear to have a serious deficiency in understanding basic arithmetic. Maybe this is the reason our governments at all levels seem to be always functioning in the red.

I suggest that all politicians and government employees be required to go back to school for remedial math classes and that they be required to master basic math (and logic) as a condition for employment. There seems to be a major disconnect between their generous ideas and reality.

I have also spoken with various employers and others in Vermont who have told me that finding people who are actually willing to WORK, is a challenge. The policies in place in Vermont that protect lazy, irresponsible, free-loading workers while punishing employers who actually need work to be done, will become more and more oppressive the more the minimum wage is artificially (legally) raised. It discourages employers from taking risks on hiring people who may turn out to be duds, as the ongoing financial obligations that entails are burdensome.


William Hays May 19, 2018 at 12:15 am

I now live in a small (pop. ~3,300) Montana city, Shelby. We have a reasonable minimum wage, yet jobs go begging. You can’t even find people to do yard work. Our lack of “Right to Work” laws doesn’t help. Our lack of sales taxes does! In Vermont, I was happy to take a job at the ski are for $2.90/hour (1968), working 7-days/week, 10+ hours/day. Dunno what the snow making jobs and professional ski patrol jobs pay now, but $15.00/hour might be crippling. I’d almost guarantee that.
BTW, I rent an apartment. Until recently, our 24 units were full. Management paid off the 50-year (low interest) USDA mortgage and we now have 50% vacancy. The mandated 40% of the tenants were on social assistance (welfare) and un-assed this place, rather than pay market rates. WTF the USDA is doing in subsidizing the “welfare set” I’ll never know. I thought their mandate was to nurture moo cows, not “land manatees”.
Things are looking up. Our Democrat governor and Democrat senator are on their was down-the-road. Montanans ain’t that dumb, after all! Just took a while…


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